A Mist

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes (James 4:13-14).

Does it ever feel like your life is moving very slowly? Maybe the school year creeps along too slowly. Maybe you are on a long road trip and you just can’t get to the destination fast enough. Maybe you daydream about when you are older and can do things that adults do but it seems like you’ll never be there. Ever feel that way?

James gives us a helpful reminder in our verses for today. He says that our human existence is like a mist.
Have you ever boiled water on the stove? It creates a type of mist. It floats through the air for a brief moment and then it’s gone! James says that our lives are really like that. Of course it doesn’t feel like that right now, but compared to the whole of human history, that really is what our lives are like. We are here for a very short time and then we are gone from this world.
James is seeking to instill a level of humility in his original audience and in us as well. Most of us have an inflated sense of self. We think we are so important. We think that we are so in control. We think that we will last forever and that the world hinges on us and our decisions.
It doesn’t. It hinges on God and his decisions. We’d do well to remember and meditate on this fact. James reminds those who are prideful that they might want to rethink their lofty sense of self. We are but a mist! So instead of being prideful, we should be thankful for the time we have and seek to glorify God in the time he has given us.

Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

  • How does this verse relate to our devotion for today?
  • As you consider your life as a mist, or temporal, how does that make you feel?
  • How can we best glorify God in the time that he has given us?

Our Father, thank you for the life you have given. We want to make the best use of the time that we have. Help us to know how to best maximize our lives for the sake of your glory and our joy. We don’t want to waste our lives. Help us by your Spirit to pour out our lives for the spread of the gospel through the church for your name’s sake. In Jesus’ name, Amen.